Whereas I was the only admin to the account, the last post I made was to wish Uganda Cranes victory in the match Vs Togo before the account was hijacked by persons unknown. A minute later, I lost access to the State House page and the linked twitter account @StateHouseUg
I got worried that the hijackers would make updates prejudicial to the person of the President. I contacted colleagues at State House for help. That help was not forthcoming. I reported the matter to facebook together with Mr. Joseph Owino who had earlier got in touch with me via facebook to help ensure all facebook and twitter accounts were verified. I’m forever grateful. I will return to this later.
Facebook responded thus, “our policy does not handle disputes between 3rd parties.” I wondered, ” who is this 3rd party?” Joseph Owino sent me a facebook message advising that the matter should be handled at office level. Was Joseph in touch with somebody at State House? How was he sure that somebody at Statee House was involved? Was it innocent and genuine advice?
Nevertherless, facebook promised to get to the bottom of the matter. I was, however, shocked by an email from Joseph Owino to facebook claiming that although the page had been flagged to avoid embarassing posts, “the President’s page was out of imminent danger and that he (Joseph) was, therefore, out of the matter. Why did Joseph Owino have confindence that the hijackers of the page did not pose danger to the account? Were they known to him? Was he in touch with the ‘hijackers’ ? Was his email to facebook intended to cause doubts about me to facebook authorities? So that, then, facebook does not recover the page from the hijackers? Was he acting under duress? How could Joseph who helped verify the accounts betray us?
Moreover, when I suggested that I make a complaint to facebook using my official email, he insisted on doing it on my behalf using his email and copied me in.
I decided to report the matter to Police. Which station would I report to and ensure that the matter does not spill to the media and cause embarassment to the head of State and State House?
In August this year, I reported Maj Edith Nakalema ( Private Secretary/Secretarial duties) to Police over continued assault and harassment inspite of reports made to her Commanders. Whereas we had tried to seek help administratively since January this year, Maj Nakalema kept assaulting, harassing and intimidating me and others with impunity. I was disappointed that my employers could not protect me from such harassment. Moreover, I had known UPDF as a force that follows a strict code of conduct that did not ‘tolerate’ harassment of civilians. As a young child, I witnessed this force (NRA) dislodge the UNLA from Masaka town. I have fond memories of the late Afende Kazini and Afende Samson Mande for saving mothers and their children from Masaka hospital that was being hit from Kasijagirwa baracks. They saved my mother and newly born sister too. They saved us. A soldier with a gun in one hand, torn trousers and a saved in the other was very touching. I have fond memories of Afende Saleh’s take over of Masaka and restoring hope to all of us that we would not would die at the hands of UNLA’s bikompola. It is the reason i feel indebted to President Museveni and have defended him since I was a student. I believe he is well-intentioned and always diappointed by others he entrusts with authority. Why is Major Nakalema exempted from the UPDF code of conduct? Why is she allowed to harass every body and create cliques of staff agains others so they secure their jobs. She brings sad memories of Masaka to me.
When, however, I managed to get a policeman to listen to me and record my statement, the media took up the matter and I was accused by State House staff in the media for “destroying State House,” and, am told, I was put under investigations for the “support” I received from followers on social media including opposition figures.
Later, I learnt from the Observer, that my case had been referred to Special Investigations Unit because of its special nature. I was also informed that it was to stop “excitement in the media.” Maj Nakalema has never made a statement. According to the Observer, the reason given is that I have never returned police forms. This is false. I returned Police Surgeon’s to Jinja road police station two days after I reported.
Will the Government of the Republic of Uganda, reputed in the region and beyond as having built a disciplined professional Army, obstruct prosecution of one of its soldiers?
Will the UPDF (and SFC), a force whose history is deeply rooted in liberation struggles in Africa, a force that boasts of a clear ideology of fighting just wars and a pro-people doctrine, obstruct justice and, therefore, deliberately or inadvertently, turn against a civilian staff of their Commander-in-Chief for standing against wrongs and reporting matters of unprofessional conduct on the part of one of their soldiers to Police? Is this
misconduct on my part?
Am taken aback by the double standards. It is okay for Special Investigations Division to handle a complaint of assault filed by one Sarah Kagingo against Maj Nakalema for its special nature, but yet when a matter as gross as the President’s twitter account is reported to the same unit, that unit, according to a State House statement, is said to be undermining the President and together with Sarah Kagingo shall be investigated for “ordering police officers to arrest Joseph Owino. I did not know, until these allegations, that I’m so ‘powerful’ that I can order police officers around to arrest people. I have tweeted about the circumstances sorrounding Joseph Owino’s arrest.
Am deeply disappointed that the hacking seems to be an inside job. Does Joseph Owino have a clue? Or does he find himself entangled in a situation that am also still puzzled about? If this is the case Joseph, am very sorry. Am sorry for reporting at all.